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     In this Sept. 16, 2014, file photo, a Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighter jet takes off from a closed section of highway during the annual Han Kuang military exercises in Chiayi, central Taiwan

    US Defence Department Approves $8Bln Sale of 66 F-16 Fighter Jets to Taiwan

    © AP Photo / Wally Santana
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has approved an $8 billion military sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release.

    “The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to TECRO [Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office] for the 66 F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft and related equipment and support for an estimated cost of $8 billion,” the release said on Tuesday.

    The Defence Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of the possible sale, the release added.

    The proposed sale helps serve the United States’ national, economic and security interests by supporting Taiwan's efforts to modernize its military and maintain a credible defence capability, according to the release.

    The Defence Security Cooperation Agency also said the proposed sale will help maintain political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.

    US lawmakers have been criticizing the Trump administration for delaying the vote to avoid jeopardizing US trade negotiations with China.

    On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said during a news conference that the United States is violating China's sovereignty and interfering in its internal affairs by providing fighter jets to Taiwan.

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    F-16, China, USA, Taiwan
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